Bitcoin Runes Are Back? Meme Coin Surge Pushes Market Cap Over $2 Billion

For the first time ever, the collective market capitalization of tokens on the Bitcoin-based Runes protocol has eclipsed $2 billion, further upending the narrative that the novel ecosystem for meme coins built on the Bitcoin network is dead on arrival. 

At writing, tokens on Runes possess a collective value of $2.06 billion, according to Bitcoin data analytics platform GeniiData. Just last week, that figure crossed $1 billion for the first time. 

The surge in value appears largely attributable to one Runes token in particular, DOG•GO•TO•THE•MOON (aka DOG). DOG has surged over 90% in the last week, to a price that still remains a fraction of a penny. Its market capitalization now stands at a commanding $797 million—making it the ninth most valuable meme coin across all blockchains, according to CoinGecko.

Runes’ recent surge in value appears to be something of a blessing for Runes creator Casey Rordamor, who previously launched the NFT-like Bitcoin Ordinals inscription protocol last year.

Prior to the debut of Runes alongside the Bitcoin halving on April 19, Rordamor tweeted—jokingly, we presume—that he would commit ritualistic suicide if Runes did not hit a $1 billion market cap within a month of launch. 

It would appear the Bitcoin developer got his wish—just barely. Runes broke a $1 billion total market cap just a day before Rordamor’s self-imposed deadline, according to GeniiData. Since then, the protocol has surged at a remarkable pace, more than doubling in value within a matter of days. 

The last few days have brought a particularly pronounced bump in Runes activity, with daily transaction volume on the protocol approaching $20 million on both Wednesday and Thursday for the first time since the week of Runes’ launch in April. 

The surge comes just as many in the industry have written off Runes as a failure, given the sky-high expectations associated with the protocol’s seductive pitch of streamlining how meme coins—a red-hot asset category—can be created on top of the world’s dominant cryptocurrency. 

Prior to Runes’ apparent comeback in the last two weeks, transaction volume for the protocol plummeted over 90% after a short-lived blockbuster debut.

Edited by Andrew Hayward


The views and opinions expressed by the author are for informational purposes only and do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice.

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